Present from a Vandal

When I was out walking at lunch time, I noticed several pieces of lilac on the sidewalk. Somebody with nothing better in his own mind to do had randomly picked pieces of lilac sprays and then dropped them on the sidewalk.

The blossoms were still perfectly fresh. Although I would not have picked any of the lilac’s blooms myself, it seemed a waste to just leave them lying on the sidewalk to be stepped on and to wilt. I picked up a bit, enjoying the scent as I returned to work. It will scent my room for another few hours and then will fade away.

Peace and light, E — Posted with WordPress for BlackBerry.


A Good Place to Sit

I came out briefly to sit and contemplate and write in my journal before a staff meeting at lunch time (no lunch provided).

The Scott Burton chairs in the National Sculpture Garden are one of the more delightful places to sit outside near my office.

First, I was joined by several birds. Then some tourists came along. The one with all the jewels sat down at the direction of her friend in orange for a photo. “We’re not allowed to sit here,” the sitter said with a little glee in her voice.

I directed her to the sign near the seats giving permission. This led the photographer both to sit down with her friend, but also to lose any real interest in taking the photograph.

What was it about the loss of transgressiveness that made the photo less desirable? The chairs are the same whether permitted or not. In fact, with sitting permitted, there is more time to explore fully their function as chair as well as their form as art.

This set me wondering about how much our desires are driven by social ideas, rather than needs and comforts.

A father and his son approach the chairs fro the other direction. After reading the sign giving permission to sit, they promptly sat down. The bare statement “granite chairs,” was all that was said before they got back up and went on they’re way.

Peace and light, E — Posted with WordPress for BlackBerry.


What Do You See?

What do you first notice when you look at this photo? What do you notice next? Do you find yourself making aesthetic judgments or comparisons? What about moral judgments?

Is it possible truly to witness without judgment? To see the good (or at least the potential for good) in everything, even if it does not please us or fit in with how we would like the world to be?

Peace and light, E — Posted with WordPress for BlackBerry.


“Just a little green…”

A neighbor who lives in the top floor of the building across the street, and thus has a spectacular view of the maples in front of my house writes:

“The buds on your tree are more numerous than yesterday, and more visibly that color that Joni Mitchell sang about: “just a little green, like the color when the spring is born...”   And we’re getting a good, soaking rain.  Happy Spring!”

I have heard the song so many times, I do not need to look it up, except to share both with those for whom it is not part of an intimate map of a long ago period and with those for whom it is and who will have, by just seeing the words (and even more so by listening), some upsurge of memories and a revelation of the miraculous play of consciousness.


Making Beauty

My top word for the week is “dank,” which evokes so much in so little space.

I was attending a conference for much of the early part of the week and simultaneously needed to meet a combination of expected and unexpected deadlines.

I had the delight and nourishment, though, of my daily practice and teaching.

Through making art — however we do it — we find the beauty that is there. Even in the circa 1974, tied for the second ugliest building on the National Mall, Frances Perkins Department of Labor Building before 8am on another dank morning.

Peace and light, E — Posted with WordPress for BlackBerry.


Magic Carpet?

Do you ever stop to wonder about the ubiquitous, wildly patterned expanses of carpets at the big chain hotels?

What might be the reasons for such carpets?
1. The carpet designers all ingested some kind of substance that gave them visions?
2. Patterns hide the dirt better than solids?
3. The interior designer wanted to make sure that the hotel carpet could not possibly be like one you would have at home–thus giving some fantastical notion of the exotic?
4. The hotel wanted to make sure that if your eyes glazed over during some conference that the swirling of the patterns could draw you into some entrancing meditative state that you would associate with visiting the hotel?

Peace and light, E — Posted with WordPress for BlackBerry.


Found Exhortation?

Could you find your innards gorgeous–the blood, sinovial fluid, organs of digestion and elimination? What about your inner thoughts and memories, the ones you do not want to share?

That, of course, is not the point, here. What does it mean to be gorgeous inside? As a found exhortation it is to invite us to find (and seek) the wondrous and exquisite place where external (including your internal critic) judgment and values become irrelevant (even while recognizing that we are still working on things).

To find that gorgeous and glorious inner space and rest in it is one of the reasons to meditate–especially those of us who have a tendency to hear at times all too loudly the inner and outer voices of criticism.

Peace and light, E — Posted with WordPress for BlackBerry.